On Oct. 3, voters in Fairbanks, Alaska and two neighboring boroughs will be asked to decide the fate of the legalized cannabis market — and their decision could change the entire state’s marijuana landscape.
Alaska became the third U.S. state to end the prohibition of marijuana on Nov. 4, 2014 with the passage of Ballot Measure 2. And while the argument for or against legal marijuana typically occurs long before any such legalization takes place, nearly 200,000 residents of Fairbanks, the Fairbanks North Star Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough find themselves embroiled in that very debate all over again.
When marijuana was legalized in 2014, the legislation left open the possibility for cities and municipalities to ban marijuana-related businesses “through the enactment of an ordinance or by a voter initiative.” The local option laws do, however, prevent the local government from banning the possession or personal use of cannabis.
In the City of Fairbanks, voters will be tasked with making a decision on Proposition A, which aims to ban all cannabis companies from conducting business within city limits. A renewed prohibition on the cannabis market in Fairbanks would mean that all “marijuana establishments” would have to close their doors for good. Voters living in the North Star Borough of Fairbanks will decide on Proposition 1, which bears very similar language to Proposition A. The Kenai Peninsula Borough will vote on a separate Proposition A that, like the others, aims to ban all cannabis commerce in the borough.
According to the propositions, the following businesses would be included in the ban should the new bills pass:
– a retail marijuana store, an entity that sells marijuana and marijuana products to consumers;
– a marijuana cultivation facility, an entity that cultivates, prepares, and packages marijuana and sells marijuana to other marijuana establishments, but not to consumers;
– a marijuana product manufacturing facility, an entity that purchases, manufactures, and prepares marijuana products and sells marijuana and marijuana products to other marijuana
establishments, but not to consumers; and
– a marijuana testing facility, an entity that analyzes and certifies the safety and potency of marijuana.